More surprising was the appointment of Winnie Mandela to the post of Deputy Minister for Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Her immediate boss, heading the portfolio, will be Ben Ngubane, one of Chief Buthelezi's closest aides.
Mrs Mandela and Chief Buthelezi, the two most controversial figures in South African politics, each took part in the swearing-in ceremony for the new Government at Pretoria's Union Buildings.
Under the constitutional rules Inkatha qualified for three ministerial posts. The third appointment was Sipho Mzimela, who replaces the ANC's initial nominee, Ahmed Kathrada, as the minister in charge of prisons.
Other appointments made yesterday, most portfolios having been filled by last weekend, were Bantu Holomisa, Transkei's former military ruler, as Deputy Minister of the Environment, and Joe Matthews, another Inkatha official formerly of the Communist Party, who became Deputy Minister of Safety and Security. Pallo Jordan, a senior member of the ANC's National Executive Committee, was appointed Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting.
It had been common knowledge in political circles for some days that Chief Buthelezi had been offered the Home Affairs portfolio. The question was whether he would accept it, whether - given his long- standing antagonism towards the ANC - he would be willing to serve under President Nelson Mandela.
Although some of his fellow ministers will be holding their noses, Mr Mandela's determination to pursue a policy of all-inclusiveness meant he had no choice but to offer the notoriously difficult Inkatha leader a high-profile portfolio. However, the post does not include control over the police.
The importance of Chief Buthelezi's appointment to a government of national unity is that the chances diminish of a resurgence of the Inkatha- ANC war in Natal/KwaZulu.
Mrs Mandela's appointment does not offer her any great power but it does provide a launching pad from which to develop her political ambitions. What is curious is that she should have got the job despite the obvious distaste with which her estranged husband views her. She also has a criminal record. Only a year ago she won her appeal against a six- year jail sentence for convictions on four cases of kidnapping and assault. In 1990 her chief bodyguard, Jerry Richardson, was sent to Death Row for the murder of Stompie Moeketsi, one of the four youths whom Mrs Mandela kidnapped.
And it was only last year that Mrs Mandela, out in the political wilderness, railed against the ANC leadership for what she called the 'unseemly haste' with which they were striving to wrap themselves 'in the silken sheets of power'.
The decision of the ANC to allow her back into the fold was interpreted by political observers yesterday as a pragmatic move designed to prevent her from carping against the new government from the back benches of parliament.
The unease Mrs Mandela's appointment to the government is certain to create will not extend to the Secretary- General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who confirmed yesterday that South Africa would be admitted to the organisation 'within a few weeks'.
Six members of Eugene Terreblanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) were condemned to death yesterday for the murder of four black men. The sentences are unlikely to be carried out given the ANC's long-standing commitment to scrap the death penalty.
SOUTH AFRICA'S NEW CABINET
Nelson Mandela's official cabinet list issued yesterday: Justice: Dullah Omar (ANC); Defence: Joe Modise (ANC); Safety and Security: Sydney Mufamadi (ANC); Education: Sibusiso Bhengu (ANC); Trade, Industry and Tourism: Trevor Manuel (ANC); Foreign Affairs: Alfred Nzo (ANC); Labour: Tito Mboweni (ANC); Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting: Pallo Jordan (ANC); Health: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (ANC); Transport: Mac Maharaj (ANC); Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development: Roelf Meyer (NP); Land Affairs: Derek Hanekom (ANC); Public Enterprises: Stella Sigcau (ANC); Public Services and Administration: Zola Skweyiya (ANC); Housing: Joe Slovo (ANC); Public Works: Jeff Radebe (ANC); Correctional Services: Sipho Mzimela (IFP); Finance: Derek Keys (NP); Agriculture: Kraai van Niekerk (NP); Sports and Recreation: Steve Tshwete (ANC); Home Affairs: Mangosuthu Buthelezi (IFP); Water Affairs and Forestry: Kader Asmal (ANC); Environmental Affairs: Dawie de Villiers (NP); Minerals and Energy: Pik Botha (NP); Welfare and Population Development: Abe Williams (NP); Arts, Culture, Science and Technology: Ben Ngubane (IFP); Minister without Portfolio: Jay Naidoo (ANC).